UK gender pay gap widens as childcare costs worsen ‘motherhood penalty’

UK gender pay gap widens as childcare costs worsen ‘motherhood penalty’

The UK’s gender pay gap has widened as sharp increases in the cost of childcare has worsened a “motherhood penalty”, pricing many women out of work altogether, according to a new report.

The nation’s average pay gap widened by 2.4 percentage points to 14.4 per cent in 2021, accountancy giant PwC found in its Women in Work index.

It means that the gap between what the average man and the average women is paid in hourly pay has got bigger, indicating UK companies have taken a step backward when it comes to gender parity.

At the rate the pay gap is closing, it will now take more than 50 years to reach gender pay parity, PwC said.

Furthermore, the UK dropped five places in the firm’s annual index of women’s employment outcomes, across 33 countries that are members of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and included in the analysis.

The UK stood in 14th place in 2021, down from ninth place in 2019, meaning that as well as the pay gap, indicators like the female labour force participation rate has declined and more women have become unemployed.

Around the world, progress towards gender equality in work was … Read More

Female founders built over 150,000 new businesses in 2022

Female founders built over 150,000 new businesses in 2022

Despite inflation reaching record levels coupled with great economic uncertainty, women in the UK  built more businesses last year than ever before.

A total of over 150,000 new companies were established by women in 2022, according to the Alison Rose Review of Entrepreneurship, more than twice as many in 2018. Furthermore, a fifth of all new incorporations were all-female led, up from 16% five years ago. Interestingly the biggest leap was among female founders aged 16-25, which increased by almost a quarter. This, of course, is very timely as we approach International Women’s Day 2023, which this year takes place on Wednesday 8th March.

Julia Onslow-Cole, Chair of the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) and Partner at Fragomen,said: “It is fantastic that more companies than ever were created by women in 2022, despite all of the economic headwinds and uncertainty facing entrepreneurs. It is abundantly clear that our business community performs better when inclusivity is at put at the forefront and codified from the start. LCCI is proud to support female entrepreneurs and business owners and we will continue to work to enable better opportunity for all.”

The findings are also great news for the SME community, especially … Read More

The IOD calls for Sunak to introduce Inflation Reduction Act to UK

The IOD calls for Sunak to introduce Inflation Reduction Act to UK

The Institute of Directors is calling on the UK government to be significantly more active in incentivising green industries and technologies.

In a recent survey of IoD members, nearly 8 in 10 businesses supported subsidies, either to achieve a step-change in how we tackle climate change or to level the playing field with the EU and the US.

Dr Roger Barker, Director of Policy at the Institute of Directors, said: “The Inflation Reduction Act in the US is a game changer which cannot be ignored by UK policy makers. It provides substantial incentives for companies to pursue green innovations and green technologies in the United States rather than in the United Kingdom. The EU is also raising the stakes through its ‘Green Deal Industrial Plan’ which, amongst other things, is proposing a significant relaxation of the EU’s state aid rules when it comes to investment in green technology.

“In 2021, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that the UK’s strategy was to ‘lead the world in ending our contribution to climate change’. However, we have now reached a situation in which that rhetoric needs to be converted into substance.

“A particular concern is that short-term budgetary concerns will override the strategic … Read More

House prices holding steady to defy forecasts, Halifax figures show

House prices holding steady to defy forecasts, Halifax figures show

House prices across the UK are holding up better than most experts had thought, with the latest data suggesting that, after wobbling at the end of last year, they have stabilised so far in 2023.

The average UK house price was £285,476 in February, according to Halifax’s most recent house price index — 2.1 per cent higher than this time last year. That annual rate of house price inflation has held steady for three months in a row.

Prices rose 1.1 per cent between January and February, whereas economists had expected prices to register a small decline of about 0.3 per cent.

“Recent reductions in mortgage rates, improving consumer confidence, and a continuing resilience in the labour market are arguably helping to stabilise prices following the falls seen in November and December,” Kim Kinnaird, director of Halifax Mortgages, said.

Halifax’s data goes against what was reported last week by Nationwide, which estimated that prices fell for the sixth consecutive month in February and were now 1.1 per cent below where they were at the start of 2022.

Halifax and Nationwide base their reports on their own mortgage approvals, meaning that cash buyers — a small but meaningful part of the … Read More

New Brexit trading rules could take more than two years to bed in fully

New Brexit trading rules could take more than two years to bed in fully

The new Brexit trading arrangements in Rishi Sunak’s revised Northern Ireland protocol could take more than two years to be fully implemented, government sources have confirmed.

Businesses in Northern Ireland say they expect a mass educational campaign to be launched across the country by HMRC and other government departments to help them put the deal announced in Windsor last Monday into operation if it is approved by parliament.

But with legislation required to bring the Windsor framework into force, the first of the new measures could take months to become operational.

A government source said if the new deal was ratified it would be “intentionally giving industry time to prepare. Essentially, it is a phased introduction over this year and in 2024.”

However, the introduction of updated labelling for products travelling across the Irish Sea via the new customs “green lane” will be staggered, with the last stage being implemented as late as July 2025.

Businesses are still trying to work out what the deal means for them. “It is important to emphasise this is a framework but there’s a lot of operational detail to work through,” said Stuart Anderson, the head of public affairs at the Northern Ireland chamber … Read More